Competition is for losers – A relationship isn’t an Olympic event

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upset black woman

A relationship isn’t an Olympic event, with glory for the winner and sour grapes for the loser. It’s a partnership that puts both of you on equal footing, and that’s why you have to work hard to make it work …

A relationship isn’t an Olympic event, with glory for the winner and sour grapes for the loser. It’s a partnership that puts both of you on equal footing, and that’s why you have to work hard to make it work …

(Article by Cath Jenkin, first published on ChangeExchange.co.za)

Have you ever had an epic argument with the person you love and thought you’d won?

Sorry. You didn’t win. To win a fight implies that there was a loser, and when you’re in a team, nobody gets to be a winner or a loser. There’s an element of competitiveness in that perspective that’s neither healthy nor kind. It’s not centred on love and commitment when you’re in a competition.

My boyfriend makes more money than I do right now

It’s really hard for me to say it out loud, because it wasn’t always this way. I used to be a fiercely independent single mom who wouldn’t let him carry my groceries for me. Poor guy, he puts up with a lot.

Poor guy, he puts up with a lot.

It was uncomfortable for me when I realised this, because it went against everything I had worked towards as a twenty-something-career-focused-single-mom, and even as a thirty-something-mama-with-more. He doesn’t do it to compete with me, and he does not lord it over me. It’s just what it is, and it means I have to lean on him sometimes. Other times, he’s leant on me. This is teamwork, and it’s refreshing.

My best friend is a stay at home mom, animal rescuer and activist

I believe she’s infinitely better at parenting than I am, and makes a better contribution to the world than I have. She does things every day that I wish I had the ability to, but I either run out of time, energy or focus.

I see myself as more selfish than she is, and yet, every time we meet, she tells me how proud she is to know me. There’s no competition between us, because we don’t compete at each other’s levels. You should also distrust someone who views you as competition, especially when they allege to be your friend.

What does it look like when someone sees you as competition but pretends to be your friend?

They’ll remark on how much weight you’ve put on, or start conversations with a cutesy “I don’t mean to be rude but…

That’s easy. They’ll remark on how much weight you’ve put on, or start conversations with a cutesy “I don’t mean to be rude but…” They do mean to be rude, and they’re doing it to belittle you. They’re also doing it to feel better about themselves, so they can feel like a winner. You don’t have to compete, so go ahead and delete that contact off your phone. There you go.

Ah, and yes, the ex-pat

This one’s particularly South African – it’s the person who leaves the country and goes out of their way to tell you how much better their life is since they left. They talk down to you as though you’re a silly thing for staying, yet can’t help but chime in on every news story about the country they left behind.

I have another friend who also moved countries, and who’s been more honest about their family’s journey. It’s not all lazy days of milk and honey, and they’re not here to compete. They moved to live the life they dreamt of, and it worked out that they found it that way. Guess which friend I’m keeping on speed dial?

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